What plant when by [writers, Martin Page, with Andrea Loom]It can be tricky to plant a garden that always has something blooming through the seasons. This book lists plants in order of season, from early spring through winter, and within each season offers plants according to their color, making it easy to find ideas that will fit in your garden. It also lists plants that are pleasing throughout all seasons, whether it be from their blooms or their foliage.
Growing perennials in cold climates by Mike Heger, Debbie Lonnee, and John Whitman — There are certainly many areas with colder climates than we have here in Canton, but with our sometimes harsh winters and unpredictable seasonal changes, we definitely qualify. This book lays out details on the most popular perennials cold climate gardeners favor, and also provides basic information for growing perennial plants. It even gets into propagation techniques and troubleshooting problems with perennials.
Designing with grasses by Neil Lucas — Like many gardeners, I tend to think of ornamental plants in terms of perennials and annuals, but I often neglect to remember the grasses. There are so many beautiful grasses that can really bring depth and flair to a garden, and this book highlights them. Not only do grasses bring beauty, they are often very healthy for the ecosystem and bring environmental benefits. This book has information on varieties of grasses, how to use them in your gardens, and how to keep them healthy.
Pruning & training by Christopher Brickell, David Joyce — There are so many plants that like to climb or have other growth habits that make it easy for gardeners to help them grow in a particular shape or pattern. This book covers a huge variety of those plants, as well as presenting background information on how different types of plants grow and the basics of both pruning and training. There's info here on how to prune and train established plants as well as how to get new plantings started to match your vision.
Contemporary color in the landscape : top designers, inspiring ideas, new combinations by Andrew Wilson — In addition to the directions and tips on using color, selecting a palette, creating intensity, harnessing contrast to create drama, color combinations, and information on other technical ways of using color in your garden, the photographs in this book would stand on their own. They're gorgeous, and terrific inspiration for gardeners or anyone who appreciates natural beauty.
Envisioning the garden : line, scale, distance, form, color, and meaning by Robert Mallet ; translated by Bryan Woy ; drawings by Yves Poinsot — Now that it's getting toward winter, it's a perfect time to work on garden plans for next year. It's hard to overstate the impact that careful planning can have on a garden space, but how many of us actually take time to do take all of these concepts into consideration before we start choosing varieties and planting? (Maybe it's just me who gets inspired and forgets to plan?) Either way, this book has a wealth of information that can help you create exactly the kind of garden space you desire.
Garden up! : smart vertical gardening for small and large spaces by Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet — Like a lot of gardeners, I have filled up the spaces in my yard and am often looking for more creative ways to use my limited space. This book has a wealth of ideas for small spaces like mine but also for large gardens. It starts with the basics - arbors and trellises - and moves on to less common techniques like living walls and growing edibles vertically. There's plenty of inspiration here!
Growing tasty tropical plants in any home, anywhere by Laurelynn G. Martin and Byron E. Martin — Have you ever wanted to grow oranges, olives, or avocados, but thought that because we live in Michigan, it wasn't feasible? Think again - it can be done! This book outlines which tropical plants are best for beginners, where to grow which tropicals, how to prepare them for eating or drinking, and much more.
Kitchen garden: month by month by Alan Buckingham — Month-to-month advice on growing produce in your backyard and obtaining a degree of sustainability. Useful illustrations and plant information are included. Vegetable, herb, and flower care instructions in a format that is easy to follow.
Trees and shrubs : a gardener's encyclopedia by senior consultants Geoff Bryant and Tony Rodd — A companion to Annuals and Perennials, this book provides the same kind of detailed information, but this time about trees and shrubs that a gardener might use in the garden and landscape. There are a wide variety of plants listed, including twenty species of Maples alone.
Annuals and perennials : a gardener's encyclopedia by senior consultants, Geoff Bryan and Tony Rodd — As a gardening enthusiast, I'm always looking for new plants I haven't yet grown and for ways to add color and texture to my gardens. This book provides terrific inspiration in addition to useful information. There's a chart that provides easy access to all the details about each plant, as well as detailed descriptions for all and color photographs for many of the listings in the encyclopedia.
Homegrown harvest: a season-by-season guide to a sustainable kitchen garden by Rita Pelczar, editor in chief — The idea of having a kitchen garden sounds so romantic, but is it really doable? It is! This book will take you through the entire year, from planning to harvest and on. It also contains a wealth of information about particular vegetables, fruits, and herbs that you might grow in your garden. The glorious full-color photographs make this book a treat just to look through, but you'll definitely want to start a garden once you do.
Practical bamboos: the 50 best plants for screens, containers and more by Paul Whittaker — Bamboo seems like such an exotic plant to grow here in suburbia, but there are actually some varieties that would be quite happy here. And not all bamboos are invasive, either! This book covers just about everything you could hope to know about bamboos.
The revolutionary yardscape: ideas for repurposing local materials to create containers, pathways, lighting, and more by Matthew Levesque — When I see a garden or yard with cool planters, trellises, or other accoutrements, I always think about how pricey it would be to do the same in my garden. But with this book, you can make your own goodies from previously used materials — save some cash and go green at the same time. This book has lots of tips for making old items seem new. Isn't it time to add some useful art to your landscape?
Sugar snaps & strawberries: simple solutions for creating your own small-space edible garden by Andrea Bellamy; with photographs by Jackie Connelly — Have you started planning your garden yet? Even if you have, you'll want to check out this book to see some fabulous ideas and pick up some tips. Whether you're designing your garden space or picking out what to grow, this book is full of info and is illustrated with gorgeous photographs (given how grey it can be in Michigan this time of year, just looking at the photos is reason enough to pick up this book!). If you like this, you can also check out the author's blog, Heavy Petal.
Did you know that there are many really easy to grow veggies that are super-nutritious? Some of them are even extremely tasty, like the sweet peas (from my garden) pictured here. You may find yourself eating them right off the vine! Check out this Top Ten list and start planning your garden for this summer.
Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs: a bountiful, healthful garden for lean times by Jim Wilson; photography by Walter Chandoha